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Exploring Lucrative Business Opportunities in Central Europe

Presentation on Czechia and Slovakia markets at BusinessAsema

In the ever-evolving landscape of global commerce, Central Europe is emerging as a hotspot for tech companies seeking new avenues for growth and expansion. A recent event organised by BusinessOulu, titled “Vauhdita vientiä Euroopan markkinassa” (Boosting Exports into European Markets), held at BusinessAsema in Oulu, Finland, shed light on the immense potential that countries like the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France, and Italy hold for tech enterprises. Let’s delve into the insights provided by Team Finland representatives at this informative event.

Mika Lautanala at Team Finland event, August 2023

Czech Republic: A Hub for Innovation and Industry

Mika Lautanala, Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in Prague, provided a comprehensive overview of the Czech Republic’s market. While renowned for brands like Skoda and its beer, the country also boasts a thriving automotive and industrial sector.

What’s less known is the wealth of technological know-how and innovation present in the country. The green transition and e-commerce are burgeoning trends, with an emphasis on creating opportunities for smart solution integration into industries. The Czech Republic’s commitment to cybersecurity and rapid advancements in AI further solidify its position as a tech-forward nation.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein: Niche Markets with High Potential

Philipp Jordi, Advisor for commercial and economic affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, introduced Switzerland and Liechtenstein as markets with substantial purchasing power. These non-EU member states offer opportunities in banking, insurance, mechanical engineering and more, with a preference for niche solutions.

These markets are known for their high living standards, advanced infrastructure, and commitment to quality. Potential areas of focus include Telecom and 6G, automation, electronics, IoT, digitalisation, eHealth, and customised products. However, personal relationships, trade fairs, and effective communication are pivotal for success.

Market potential slide at Team Finland event, August 2023
French economy slide at Team Finland event, August 2023

France: A Land of Vast Opportunities

Henriikka Yliheljo, Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in Paris, highlighted the immense potential of the French market. 100 Finnish companies have already established subsidiaries in France. Digitalisation is a focal point, with significant investments in key technologies, including connectivity, robotics, and AI applications.

Industry 4.0 is gaining momentum, with automation, 5G, IoT, and cybersecurity at the forefront. There are also opportunities abound in the healthcare sector’s digital transformation. Collaborating with organisations like Oulu Health can provide further insights into this sector.

Italy: A Market of Challenges and Rewards

Silva Paananen and Hanna Laurén presented Italy’s multifaceted market. Italy offers vast opportunities, particularly in its health sector, including connected care, data management, and digital therapeutics. However, navigating public bids can be challenging for smaller foreign tech companies. Collaboration through consortiums is often the key to success. Understanding Italian culture and business etiquette is crucial. Effective communication, politeness, and relationship-building are essential to thrive in this vibrant market.

Italian economy slide at Team Finland event, August 2023
Automotive cluster slide at Team Finland event, August 2023

Hanna Laurén, in her enlightening presentation, shined a light on Italy’s prominent automotive industry, one of Europe’s largest. Notably, Fiat-Chrysler stands as a key player, and the recent emergence of Stellantis, headquartered in Torino and influential in US markets, further underscores Italy’s automotive prowess.

Lauren’s talk extended to the success of a Finnish tech business delegation to the Maserati plant, exemplifying the lucrative opportunities Italian automotive markets hold for Finnish tech firms. She highlighted the potential collaborations with companies like Marelli, offering significant openings for AI, data, machine vision, and cybersecurity providers. Lauren’s connections with Marelli offer a promising avenue for interested parties.

Furthermore, Italian councellors unveiled an array of valuable services, including demand scouting, business delegations, speed dating with flagship companies, region-to-region dialogues, participation in fairs and conferences, and connections with system integrators. These resources are invaluable assets for any enterprise planning to venture into the Italian market.

Unveiling Opportunities with the ICTOulu Team

During the event, companies like Proventia, Tactotek, and Exfo shared their experiences in Central Europe. It’s essential to recognise the support available for businesses interested in Central Europe. Business Finland offers funding and expert search services, while local consultants provide market potential evaluations and help establish contacts.

In conclusion, Central Europe presents exciting opportunities for tech companies willing to explore these dynamic markets. The ICTOulu team stands ready to assist, armed with a strong track record and a good set of resources. So, raise your hand, make contact, and let’s embark on a journey to build a successful project for your company. Au revoir, a presto, and we look forward to connecting soon!

Sincerely, The ICTOulu Team